Grants Program

Summer Language Grant Award Winners 2015-2016

Kate Dannies
Department of History, Georgetown University

The ITS grant will support my travel and residence in İstanbul during summer 2015. While in İstanbul I will be enrolled at the Turkish Language and Culture program at Boğaziçi University. Although the primary purpose of my trip is language study, I will also be taking advantage of my presence in İstanbul to conduct dissertation research at İstanbul's archives. My dissertation explores how Ottoman reform compelled a new state ideology of gendered modernity that was received and refashioned by Ottoman men and women during the Late Ottoman period in Beirut and İstanbul. My study pushes gender to the forefront of questions of modernizing reform, imperial state building, and social change during this period. I approach this topic from a local, regional and global perspective that incorporates the Arab, Ottoman, and Great Power dimensions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Server Koray Er
Church History, Yale University

I was born in İstanbul and moved to US in 2000. I am a graduate student at Yale Divinity School. My concentrated area is Church history and exclusively I am focusing on Reform movements. My research focuses on Ottoman - Protestant relations in 16th century. I wrote a book in Turkish on Early Christianity. The formation of the bible, theological debates of the early church fathers, the role of women in Christianity, divinity of Christ, and the Trinity, and the role of Paul in Christianity, are some of the themes of my book, which is published by "Etkilesim Yayinlari" in 2013. I am married with Candan Er and we have a wonderful son who's name is Efe Enver.
Nilüfer Duygu Eriten
History Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison

I am a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the History Department. My research interests include histories of global religious and merchant networks, Ottoman and Russian empires in the nineteenth century, sufi orders and modernity. I focus on the sponsorship of the Ottoman rulers for the trans-imperial and cosmopolitan sufi orders at the time of the Great Game and the pan-Islamist movement, and formulate this conduct as an empire-network cooperation which was based on the exchanges of imperial authority and global access. Considering the relationship as a form of an old imperial tradition of negotiation that was shaped by the great imperial competition of the nineteenth century, and describing the integration of the sufi Islam into the discourses of the Ottoman nation-state-based modernity as its consequence; my dissertation is an attempt to highlight the complexities created by the "backward" and "modern," and "cosmopolitan" and "national." Doing this, I also suggest tracing the continuity of the old imperial practices after the Ottoman rule, and reconsidering the origins and persistence of Islamic politics in Turkey. The funding I received from the Institute of Turkish studies will support my language training in the Yildiz Technical University, İstanbul, during the Summer of 2015. Advancing in the Ottoman Turkish is most critical and timely for an efficient primary source research that I am planning to conduct in the various archives of Turkey this summer.
Susanna Ferguson
Department of History, Columbia University

Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Modern Middle Eastern History at Columbia University in the City of New York. She previously received a BA from Yale University and an MA in Near Eastern Studies from New York University. With the support of ITS, Susanna will complete Yildiz Technical University's course in Ottoman Paleography during the summer of 2015. The ability to draw on Ottoman documents and sources will enrich her dissertation, tentatively entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Education and Childrearing in Lebanon and Egypt, 1865-1939." Access to both Ottoman periodicals and sources from the Ottoman archive will help Susanna to trace the development of ideas about motherhood, childrearing, and education in the late Ottoman Empire and in Egypt through a particular focus on women intellectuals and writers.
Alexandra Frankel
Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Alexandra Frankel is a Master's student in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. With the generous support of the Institute of Turkish Studies, Frankel will be in Turkey this summer to do intensive Turkish language training in preparation for her thesis research. Formal language training in Turkey will enable Frankel to develop both her skills in formal Turkish and colloquial Turkish. This research builds on a project Frankel developed as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Turkey at Afyon Kocatepe University: the different ways in which women participate in kına gecesi (henna night, a pre-wedding ritual) as political commentary on contested constructions of womanhood in Turkey. This project engages Frankel's interests in political gendered subjectivities, nationalism, anthropology of religion, Middle Eastern studies, and feminist theory.
Lydia Harrington
Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Boston University

Lydia Harrington has completed the first year of the post-MA Ph.D. program in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Boston University and completed her Masters in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2014. She is using the ITS Grant to study at the Summer Program for Ottoman and Turkish at Koç University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in İstanbul. Her current work looks at center-periphery relations, administrative-subject relations, and the development of nationalism through analysis of new infrastructure and institutions in 19th-century Baghdad. She is especially interested in transportation networks, schools, orphanages, and clocktowers. This summer, study of Ottoman and introduction to archives and libraries in İstanbul will help her access documents such as architectural and city plans, biographies and travelogues, and government edicts.
Peter Kitlas
Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Peter is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His research focuses on the early modern Islamic Mediterranean. While his primary training has been in Arabic, Peter will use the funding from the Institute for Turkish Studies to intensively study Modern Turkish at Boğaziçi University. After the eight week summer program he will begin studying Ottoman in the fall. Peter hopes that access to both Arabic and Ottoman primary sources will allow him to more effectively examine the intricacies of diplomatic, Islamic, and provincial histories during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Rachel Midura
Department of History, Stanford University

I am a first-year history Ph.D. student at Stanford University, focusing on diplomatic, mercantile, and journalistic networks in early modern Europe (1400-1800). I aim to be a Mediterraneanist, researching broad trends from Ottoman Turkey to revolutionary England. Boğaziçi University's intermediate level course will help supplement my Turkish reading ability with additional speaking and writing fluency, which will be necessary for navigating Turkish archives, as well as advancing to Ottoman Turkish study. The immersive environment in İstanbul will help me become familiar with the setting of my future research. After improving my language ability, I hope to carry out a project that will cross the Mediterranean in examining the origins of popular "news culture." I believe this could revolutionize our approach to the public sphere, especially its exclusive association with Western Enlightenment.
Elizabeth Pertner
Department of Political Science, George Washington University

Elizabeth Pertner is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University. Her research focuses on the history and politics of national media in Turkey. The ITS Summer Language Grant will provide the support necessary to attend the Boğaziçi University Turkish Language and Culture Program to study Modern Turkish. Elizabeth has previously studied Turkish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute. Prior to coming to George Washington University, she was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Selcuk University in Konya and a Gilman Scholar at Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
Kara A. Peruccio
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, The University of Chicago

Kara A. Peruccio is a first year doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on gender and cultural history of the early Turkish Republic. Currently, she is studying the novelists Suat Derviş and Nezihe Muhiddin and their involvement with the Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2011 and received her MA from the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies in 2014. In 20112, she held a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Uşak, Turkey. With the support of the Institute of Turkish Studies, she will be attending the Cunda Summer Ottoman School.
Ricardo Rivera
Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

I will be using my ITS grant to support my travel to İstanbul this summer to study in the Turkish Language and Culture Program at Boğaziçi University. I am finishing up my first year in the Anthropology program at the University of California, Berkeley, and am studying linguistic anthropology, narrative, temporality, and the poetics of historical discourse in Turkey. Thanks to ITS's support, I will be able to travel to complete this summer program in advanced Turkish, increasing my spoken and written fluency in Turkish. The grant will also allow me to carry out pre-dissertation fieldwork in İstanbul, helping me to better orient my project as it develops.
Leticia R. Rodriguez
Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas, Austin

Leticia is a doctoral candidate in Art History at The University of Texas, Austin. Her research revolves around issues of identity and culture in the ancient East Greek world, what is today the western coast of Turkey and east Greek islands. At the heart of her work is a reconsideration of traditional western approaches to the study of material culture produced and consumed in East Greece/Anatolia, and the extent to which these traditions affect 'what' we investigate and 'how' we study and access this material today. A proficiency in Turkish is an essential part of this project, not only for the purposes of secondary research, but also for working with and within the archaeological and art historical communities in Turkey. To this end she will continue Turkish language study at Boğaziçi University with the aid of an ITS grant.
Rosabel Martin Ross
Islamic Studies, Georgetown University

I have just finished the first year of my Ph.D. at Georgetown University in Islamic Studies. The ITS grant will support my studies this summer at the Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer School run by Harvard and Koç Universities on the island of Cunda. In this program I will develop language skills in both Ottoman and modern Turkish which are critical to my research on the intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire. Through my research I seek to track change and continuity in Islamic thought and provider a deeper understanding of the Ottoman intellectual world on the eve of modernity and Tanzimat reforms. I hope to study both the texts and curriculum of Ottoman medreses and to contextualize this within historical questions of patronage and vakfs.
Reuben Silverman
History Department, University of California San Diego

Reuben Silverman is a graduate student at University of California San Diego. He focuses on Turkey in the 1950s and ways in which the political-economic conditions connected with the early Cold War era. Citizens of Turkey experienced a "transition to democracy" at the same moment that fears of communism (and, for some, American-style capitalism) were growing in intensity. During this summer, he will take Kurdish language classes. Developing proficiency in Kurdish will allow him to incorporate a wider range of source material from the period into his account of the 1950s. In particular, he is interested in how the Democrat Party related to elites in the southeast of Turkey during these years and how citizens living in the southeast responded to the opportunities and limitation of the Democrat era.
Matthew Sohm
European History, Harvard University

I will be using my ITS grant to fund intensive Turkish language study in İstanbul this summer. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in European history at Harvard and, although I am not a Turkey specialist, attaining reading proficiency in Turkish will be essential for me to pursue dissertation research on the Mediterranean in the twentieth century. Since I am fascinated by how Europe and European projects were perceived at the edge of the continent, studying Turkish is a natural choice. Turkey provides an ideal vantage point to investigate, and question, concepts of Europeanness precisely because of the country's contested relationship with Europe.
John Stovall
Department of History, SUNY Albany

John Stovall is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Albany. With the support and kindness of the Institute of Turkish Studies, he will travel to and reside in İstanbul during the summer of 2014. He will participate in a summer Turkish course at TÖMER in İstanbul to improve his ability to speak and read Turkish. Also, he will utilize the opportunity to engage in archival research. Both the language and the research will assist his preliminary dissertation research, which aims at cross-confessional analysis of early seventeenth century Ottoman religious communities and close readings of unpublished material at the intersection of intellectual, cultural, and political histories.

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